Monday, August 22, 2016

Mini-Reviews (17): Diplomatic Immunity, My Fair Princess, The Best Friend Bargain

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf (cause it's humungous, it's not even funny).

Title/Author: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, September 6th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

I'm just gonna come out and say it: this book was a huge disappointment. It sounded like something that I would just LOVE, but instead it had me going 'meh' and having serious issues with several things happening in the novel. I wasn't feeling the main character, who was a bit of a hypocrite and just annoying and the love interest was just... Not interesting. I felt zero sparks and the whole system was messed up and it didn't feel like this was happening to teenagers.

I did like the relationships between Piper and her brother and Rafael and his brother, but all in all, it just wasn't enough to make me like the novel. I felt like it was trying a little too hard, which is a shame, because I remember very much loving Brodi Ashton's writing before.

My rating: 1,5 stars


Title/Author: My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses #1) by Vanessa Kelly
Publisher/Date published: Zebra, August 30th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

So I liked My Fair Princess, it wasn't earthshattering or majorly shippy, but it was cute and I liked Charles, who was lovely and proper, but willing to let go of it for Gillian. I also liked Gillian, but she had a teensy bit of too stupid to live going on with all her diving headfirst into danger that you could see coming from MILES away. I mean MILES. But the two of them had nice chemistry and there was definitely some tension, which was wonderful. And I also really liked Charles' sister, who loved messing with him a bit, which is what sisters are supposed to do in my opinion.

My rating: 3,5 stars


Title/Author: The Best Friend Bargain (Kisses in the Sand #3) by Robin Bielman
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing LLC, August 8th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

I like a good friends-to-lovers story and this was really sweet. I thought Olivia and Danny were kinda perfect together, but there was a definite lack of communication going on at one point ant that was just hurtful! I mean, wow. Also, I kinda had to laugh a bit at the way Olivia sorta just told someone that she and Danny were getting married and starting a family when she hadn't even told him that she was pregnant, it was all just a little crazy. I could sorta understand where Danny was coming from with his issues, but I was also a bit annoyed by it, because he was just throwing away so many things for himself and for Olivia (and for the women who came before him), that I just wanted to shake him.
Also, the ending threw me off a bit, I mean, that's REALLY quick for another baby (which to be honest doesn't seem all that healthy to me aside from being really quick). But it was a nice story and I liked it.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Review of If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell


Title/Author: If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #2) by Lenora Bell
Publisher/Date published: Avon, August 30th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he’s losing it to Thea.

So I really enjoyed the first book in this series that features the basically identical looking half-sister of the heroine of this one, so I was excited to start this. And I liked it, just not as much as the first.

I liked the sassy correspondence between Thea and Dalton that starts of this story, it was witty and flirty and just lots of fun. And at first, the dialogue between the two is exactly that when they meet in real life. They challenge each other and have very nice chemistry and I was just really feeling it. But then the adoration started overflowing and it just sort of fizzled down a bit and I did still find myself hoping they'd find a way to be together, but it wasn't making me smile as much anymore as it did at the start.

I did very much enjoy Thea's antics, pretending to be an Italian opera singer and just getting up to all sorts of mischief. And the duke mainly just staring and dealing with it, while being a bit of a brooding hero with a not-so-servant-like man-servant. I did like the two of them together, they brought out a side of each other that was fun to watch.

The thing is, I was having a bit of trouble with the way that Thea thinks she 'knows him better than anyone' after having slept with him. I mean, seriously? You've known the man for what, two weeks, and because you've been intimate you know him better than ANYONE else? I can't help but roll my eyes when I read something like this, I mean, if you've actually known someone their whole lives and have deep conversations, then maybe you can say something like this, but having sex once or twice doesn't really do the trick. It's not a magic mind-reading experience.
But I could have gotten past this with just an eye roll or two, if I hadn't been disappointed by the way things concluded, which was a bit anticlimactic. ***SPOILER LIGHT UP TO READ*** Dalton walks away cause he's 'heartless' and then his brother ends up wanting a relationship with him and his brother and all of a sudden he's like YES I LOVE THEA and I'm like WHAT THE WHAT??? You left her like 5 minutes ago, I mean, SERIOUSLY??? What if his brother hadn't turn back around, then they would have been apart forever? And his mother magically learns to get over her fear of going outside that's kept her inside for 20 years because of said brother returning? I was seriously not into the ending at all. *** END OF SPOILER***

Aside from these issues, mainly with the ending, If I Only Had a Duke was an enjoyable read, it's just a shame that the ending left me not so much heaving a happy sigh at yet another happy ending, which is one of the things I love about reading historical romances.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, April 23, 2016

THE READATHON IS HERE! :D


It's that time of the year again, the time where we get together and READ! YAY! It's readathon day! I LOVE Dewey's 24 hour readathon and even more so now that I get to spend it with my book club ladies of awesome :)

I'll be heading over to Daph's house in about 30 minutes and I still need to pack (EEP), as in pick out what books to take with me and gather the snacks and just... NOT ENOUGH TIME!

So here's a quick answer to the introduction questions :)

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'll be reading from Daph's home in Zaandam, which'll be awesome :)

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I haven't picked out my books yet! *panicks* *panicks some more* But I am looking forward to just reading some of the books on my shelves, though I'll also be bringing my ereader.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
ALL THE SNACKS! :) I'm bringing banana profiteroles, which are SO good! I'm sure the other girls will also be bringing snacks, so I probably won't have to eat for a couple of days after I get home tomorrow.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Hello everyone! :) I'm Daisy, 28 years old, resident of Holland, proud kitty momma and during the day I'm a GP in training, currently in my final year of residency. I've been blogging for about 6 (might be 7) years I think and try to always make time for the readathon, cause it's awesome. Other things I love include the boyfriend, cooking/baking, READING obviously, pirates and lots of TV shows (including but not limited to ANTM, Nashville, Awkward, Downton Abbey, Suits, White Collar).

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I'm going over to Daph's and I'm finally meeting her cute cat, so that'll be different. Other than that, I'm just going to relax, read and enjoy my book club ladies' company.

Happy read-a-thon-ing everyone!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Review of Once Was a Time by Leila Sales


Title/Author: Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Publisher/Date published: Chronicle Books, April 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

I LOVE Leila Sales' writing, so there was a LOT of pressure on this book to be awesome. And while I did like it, it didn't blow me away.

I'm always intrigued by timetravel and was curious to see how it would work out in this MG novel. And it was a very interesting concept, the thing is that it never really gets explained how the timetravel works and why Charlotte is able to travel while her dad's been spending his whole life loooking for the answer and never really getting it. And I guess I just sorta needed that explanation, because at one point it seems like we're getting it, but then NOPE, sorry!

I was really feeling for Charlotte, she went through a very traumatic experience and then ends up in the future all by herself, trying to make sense of the world that is all of a sudden filled with internet and all of the electric appliances that we now have basically everywhere. All by herself without her best friend and her family, she totally rallies though! She finds her safe place: the library (AWESOME) and things start to happen from there.

Charlotte seems like a nice girl, but she sorta loses herself in the drama that's a mean girl phase at school. And the figuring out of the whole timetravel thing gets put on the backburner until she finds a clue and then we're back in business! I felt that the ending was a bit bittersweet, but I did like it. The thing is that I was never fully emerged in the story and while I did like the way Leila Sales wrapped it up, I still have so many questions!

It was cute though, just not the amazing that I've come to expect from Leila Sales.

My rating: 3 stars

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review of The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows


Title/Author: The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher/Date published: Katherine Tegen Books, April 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith — destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

***WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE***

After the cliffhanger ending of The Orphan Queen, I'm SO happy that I already had the egalley for this one so I didn't have to wait in agony to find out what would happen next!

The Mirror King picks up right where we left everyone in The Orphan Queen and I just loved it! We dove right back into the epicness that is this world and Jodi Meadows' writing and also all of these characters and especially WIL and TOBIAH and JAMES. And also Melanie, but we don't see as much of her for the first part cause she went off with Patrick. Who is hateful and will not be mentioned much hereafter because of said hatefulness.

I loved Wil even more in this one, I felt for her in all of her doubts and insecurities and in the starcrossed love she's feeling for Tobiah. I mean, wow, these two have basically everything going against them. One of which happens in this book and was one of the most shocking things EVER. OMG, I still can't believe that happened! She was so strong through it all and really grew as a person and I love that even though everyone knows she's the heir to the throne of Aecor, she's not going to stop kicking ass.

The wraith is still creepy and I'm still not sure that I get it entirely, but in The Mirror King, they're looking for a way to stop it. Or at least keep it at bay. I loved seeing more of the wraith boy and the thing I also very much liked about the magic system is that Wil can animate things, but while they're animated, they keep costing her energy, so it's not just her powering them up and then the things just going off on their own, but it's actually a strain on her and therefore her magic is not limitless.

There are some hints about things that are explained in The Mirror King, but I was SO surprised at at least one of the big reveals! I really don't want to give anything away, but I had definitely not picked up on it, and it was both sad and awesome and plays a big part in the final scenes. Which also gave me some sads, because of reasons. I've gotten so attached to this world and these characters and there are only two books and I wished I could have just spent some more time with everyone and see how their lives turn out after the events in The Mirror King! It's what makes me realise how much I love a book, when I keep wondering what will happen after I've turned the last page.

I'm in awe of Jodi Meadows' storytelling and I really hope she'll be gifting us with more stories!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mini-Reviews (16): Ice Like Fire, Wedding Date For Hire, An Inheritance of Ashes

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf (cause it's humungous, it's not even funny).

Title/Author: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, October 13th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I really liked the first book in this series, and sadly Ice Like Fire didn't work quite as well for me, mainly because it suffered from second book syndrome. The whole book basically feels like there are BIG THINGS ABOUT TO HAPPEN, but then they fail to really start happening until about the end of the book.
Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I liked getting to know more about this world and the magic and what the heck is up with this chasm and everything. I just would have liked it to be a little more filled with action as well, along with the worldbuilding. Meira is being held back because she is Queen now and it's not Queen-like to go around throwing a chakram. And while I get this, it's also REALLY annoying.
The love triangle continues and ermagerd, I liked Theron in the first book, but now he was just being annoying and I have mixed feelings about Mather and can we maybe get another option? Because I'm not having shippy feelings for either of them.

The ending definitely leaves me curious to find out how this will be wrapped up in the last book, which is hopefully filled with awesome.

My rating: 3,5 stars


Title/Author: Wedding Date For Hire by Jennifer Shirk
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, October 12th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Mostly what I remember about this book is not really being into it, but finishing it because it was only 200 pages. I'm always down for a good fake dating story, but this one just fell a little short of what I wanted. There's not a lot of actual depth to the story or the characters and it goes from fake dating to LOVE in ten seconds, which is just not really my thing.
I mean, it was ok and there were some nice moments between the two main characters, but Maddie just seemed too naive and not really seeing what was in front of her and while Trent is a good guy, I just didn't get the shippy feels.

My rating: 2 stars


Title/Author: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
Publisher/Date published: Clarion Books, October 6th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I almost DNF-ed this in the beginning so many times. Then things started to pick up a bit, but I don't know, I just expected more based on the summary. There's never that edge of your seat feeling going on. Mostly, I felt like part of the book was missing, because it felt like we were being dumped down in the middle of a story and things don't make sense and aren't being explained later on, like I'd expected and I'm still confused about a lot of things. I'm still not really sure what was going on with the Twisted Things and the God and what the heck was up with everything??
The plot just sort of simmers on, but while there's a sort of battle at one point, it doesn't really get exciting. But Leah Bobet builds this incredible atmosphere that I can't describe any better than 'grey'. All of it just felt grey and bleak to me and that's the feeling I also get just thinking about the novel. And she did manage to suck me in, because at one point I was like, yeah, ok, I do actually want to know how this ends.

I'm still not really sure what to think of this book, other than that I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review of The Wedding Date by Kelly


Title/Author: The Wedding Date by Kelly Eadon
Publisher/Date published: Forever Yours, April 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: A little fake relationship never hurt anyone...

Kate Massie has big dreams - they just haven't worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she's shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn't where the surprises end...

James Abell needs a date to his sister's wedding. So when Kate agrees, he's relieved... until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn't feel fake - not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real... but they just might fall for their own little white lie.

So in between all of my fantasy reads lately I was definitely ready to get some contemporary romance action going! And I basically read The Wedding Date in no time at all, it was a nice little break from all the epic tales I'd been reading.

I liked that Kate and James sort of had a history. I mean, they're not just random stranger bumping into each other and starting a fake relationship, they've actually already met because Kate was James' last minute prom date way back when. There's some reminiscing about this going on, but not a lot of actual details about how their night went back then and why they didn't keep in touch except for him not daring to ask her number. And they did have one actual person in common, though she doesn't feature much except to facilitate their first meeting.

Basically James and Kate were pretty cute together, there are some obstacles in their way, James' decision to not get involved with anyone because he just broke up with his ex and is not ready to dive back into a relationship, Kate's issues with trusting someone not to break her heart. BUT they do work together and there were sparks between them, which I obviously supported.

The thing is, this was pretty short. So while I liked the overall idea of this, it was just a little short of being amazing because there was just not enough of everything. I mean, there's an I love you at some point that had me like HUH? Already?? I could have done with a little more moments where they were finding their footing and moments of doubt and the main fight was resolved pretty easily... I mean, I would just have liked it to be a little more. Because it had all the ingredients I like in a romance novel, but not fleshed out enough to have me shipping everything and having feelings all over it.

That said, it was a very nice, fun read and a good way to spend Easter Monday afternoon!

My rating: 3 stars